Biden’s Top Science Adviser Bullied Subordinates, White House Investigation Finds

United States President Joe Biden’s top science adviser Eric Lander bullied and demeaned his subordinates while also violating the White House’s workplace policy, an internal investigation found.

An investigation found “credible evidence” that Lander, the director of the Office of Science and Technology Police was “bullying” his former general counsel Rachel Wallace and other subordinates and violated the White House’s “Safe and Respectful Workplace Policy,” Politico first reported, citing interviews and audio recordings.

“The investigation found credible evidence of instances of multiple women having complained to other staff about negative interactions with Dr. Lander, where he spoke to them in a demeaning or abrasive way in front of other staff,” White House Deputy Director of Management and Administration for Personnel Christian Peele said in a recording.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the investigation and its findings in a press briefing on Feb. 7.

“Following the conclusion of the thorough investigation into these actions, senior White House officials conveyed directly to Dr. Lander that his behavior was inappropriate and the corrective actions that were needed,” Psaki said.

Psaki also said that Lander sent a message to his staff about steps he would take “to build a respectful work environment.”

As discipline, the White House required Lander to hold more collaborative meetings with subordinates, Peele reportedly said.

However, some current and former staffers said Lander should be fired.

Lander’s behavior is at odds with a pledge Biden made to his political appointees during their swearing-in ceremony.

“If you are ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot. On the spot. No ifs, ands or buts,” Biden had said at the time.

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